Now that you’ve been dazzled by my favourite ‘bangin’ choons’ of 2022, here are my favourite movies of the year. It’s been a weird year for cinema. The big hitters are drawing in the punters, but those smaller movies are struggling to find an audience. It would be a crying shame if the interesting stuff was all regulated to the streamers. Not to denigrate streaming, but there’s nothing like sitting in the dark with complete strangers and immersing yourself in a story.
These are in no particular order, although I do have one favourite above all others and that is…
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
I’ve seen this twice now and it’s even better the second time around. Just breathtaking on every level. It’s inventive, constantly surprising, very funny, heartbreaking and had amazing action sequences. Directed by The Daniels (friends Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) who previously made the surreal Swiss Army Man (featuring Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse… yes, really) this gives me hope for cinema in a very difficult year. Not only did something this strange and personal manage to get made, it also took over $100m at the box office worldwide. Let these guys make whatever the hell they want in future!
I’ve seen this get a lot of flack online, but I caught this in the cinema when it first came out and was completely swept away by it. It ticks so many boxes for me: Vikings, battles, blood, witches, mythology, revenge and, er, naked men battling near lava… Well, yes, the ending is a bit Revenge of the Sith, but Alexander Skarsgård is utterly compelling, Anya Taylor-Joy is always amazing, and Robert Eggers is becoming one of my favourite directors.
BRIAN AND CHARLES
I’m so glad I got to see this in a cinema with a crowd. Simply the sweetest film of the year. Brian is an inventor who creates a robot from junk lying about his home. The robot learns English from a dictionary and names himself Charles Petrescu. What follows is an adorable story about friendship, love and growing up, and flying the nest.
CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY
Based on the book by Karen Cushman and directed by Lena Dunham this is a ton of fun. When her family’s finances are revealed to be in a terrible state, young Lady Catherine must be married off to restore their fortune. It’s very funny and Bella Ramsey is superb in the lead. I particularly related to her father played by Andrew Scott who kept blowing the family’s money on useless crap like dead tigers. This has a great soundtrack too with medieval takes on contemporary hits with Misty Miller’s take on Elastica’s Connection being a favourite for me.
Branagh’s most personal film and my favourite of his. Young Jude Hill as Buddy is a joy as he tries to make sense of the madness around him. A child’s point of view, memory and history mingle to make something heightened and heartbreaking,
A classic case of ‘Print the legend’. I’ve seen some complain about the historical accuracy of this, but Baz was never going to make a gritty biopic, was he? This could have been a complete disaster, but it’s all held together by Austin Butler who does the impossible and makes you believe that Elvis is in the building. Quite enjoyed Tom Hanks as Elmer Fudd, too…
Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig are clearly having the time of their lives making these movies, but the secret weapon in this one is Janelle Monáe. Not only is she a brilliant singer songwriter and science fiction author, but as an actor she takes on a role here that’s really tricky (I can’t say more for spoiler reasons) and knocks it out of the park. We were lucky to see this in its one week in cinemas and I’m so glad we did. These films are best seen in the company of others.
The best flesh-eating movie of the year (ignore all the hype around Bones and All. I saw that at Sitges and wasn’t impressed). Sebastian Stan is completely charming (until he isn’t), and you completely understand why Daisy Edgar-Jones falls for him (until she doesn’t). This is on Disney+ in the UK and you should definitely watch it between meals…
I saw BOWIE — MOONAGE DAYDREAM at the BFI IMAX in London and it pretty much blew my mind. I’d like to see it on a smaller screen to see if it holds up, especially as a lot of the 80s and 90s footage was shot on crappy video and didn’t look good on IMAX.
I liked Jordan Peele’s NOPE, but for me it’s the least of his movies so far. I was hooked, but it didn’t quite stick the landing for me. But I always love anyone who reaches for something even if they don’t get it (see also: my entire writing career).
SEE HOW THEY RUN was a good laugh and I hope we get to see more adventures with Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan’s odd couple coppers.
PREY was a great surprise: a Predator movie as good as the first one (there, I said it)!
BLACK PHONE was an excellent adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story. Back to basics horror for Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill.
TOP GUN MAVERICK was basically the trench run from Star Wars stretched out to feature length. I was never a big fan of the original, but this was terrific fun and the kind of blockbuster that Hollywood does better than anyone. Best seen on the biggest screen you can find.
NIGHTMARE ALLEY is technically a 2021 movie but it was (I think) the first film I saw in 2022. I’ll just say it: Guillermo del Toro is a bloody genius and I’m so glad he’s now in a position to make a film so visually stunning and shocking. As remakes go it’s a belter. Can’t wait for his Pinocchio.
MEN started well, and Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear are always great, but it unravelled a little at the end. I went in with big expectations, so it’s one I want to come back to and see how it holds up.